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Section 106 Evidence Act Is Not Intended To Relieve Prosecution From Discharging Its Duty To Prove The Guilt Of The Accused: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
16 Feb 2022 5:30 AM GMT
Section 106 Evidence Act Is Not Intended To Relieve Prosecution From Discharging Its Duty To Prove The Guilt Of The Accused: Supreme Court
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Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act is not intended to relieve the prosecution from discharging its duty to prove the guilt of the accused, the Supreme Court observed while acquitting murder accused.The bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi observed that the burden could not be shifted on the accused by pressing into service the provisions contained in section 106 of...

Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act is not intended to relieve the prosecution from discharging its duty to prove the guilt of the accused, the Supreme Court observed while acquitting murder accused.

The bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi observed that the burden could not be shifted on the accused by pressing into service the provisions contained in section 106 of the Evidence Act when the prosecution could not prove the basic facts as alleged against the accused.

In this case, the accused were convicted by the Trial Court under Section 302 read with Section 34 and Section 201 of the IPC and were sentenced to undergo life imprisonment. The High Court upheld the conviction by dismissing the appeals filed by the accused.

Before the Apex Court, the appellant- accused contended that the case was based on the circumstantial evidence as there was no eye witness to the alleged incident and the prosecution had failed to prove the entire chain of circumstances leading to the guilt of the accused.  The State, referring to Section 106 of the Evidence Act, submitted that there was no explanation given by the accused in their further statement as to why did deceased Shashi leave their home the previous day and what they did they do for the whole night, when Shashi was not found.

Referring to the evidence on record, the bench observed that the deceased Shashi had left the house on the previous evening of the alleged incident and that she was not found during the whole night. But such circumstance itself could not be said to be sufficient proof to come to a conclusion that accused had murdered and burnt Shashi as alleged. Rejecting the contention of the state which relied on Section 106 Evidence Act, the bench observed:

"Section 106 is not intended to relieve the prosecution from discharging its duty to prove the guilt of the accused......In the case on hand, the prosecution having failed to prove the basic facts as alleged against the accused, the burden could not be shifted on the accused by pressing into service the provisions contained in section 106 of the Evidence Act. There being no cogent evidence adduced by the prosecution to prove the entire chain of circumstances which may compel the court to arrive at the conclusion that the accused only had committed the alleged crime, the court has no hesitation in holding that the Trial Court and the High Court had committed gross error of law in convicting the accused for the alleged crime, merely on the basis of the suspicion, conjectures and surmises"

Observing thus, the bench allowed the appeal and acquitted the accused.

Case name: Satye Singh vs State of Uttarakhand

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 169

Coram: Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi

Case no.|date: CrA 2374 of 2014 | 15 Feb 2022

Headnotes:

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 106 - Section 106 is not intended to relieve the prosecution from discharging its duty to prove the guilt of the accused - Burden could not be shifted on the accused by pressing into service the provisions contained in section 106 of the Evidence Act when the prosecution could not prove the basic facts as alleged against the accused. (Para 15-16)

Criminal Trial - Circumstantial Evidence - The conviction can be based solely on circumstantial evidence but it should be tested on the touchstone of law relating to the circumstantial evidence that all circumstances must lead to the conclusion that the accused is the only one who has committed the crime and none else - Circumstances howsoever strong cannot take place of proof and that the guilt of the accused have to be proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. (Para 11,14)

Click here to Read/Download Judgment



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